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Home > Screenings > ABC Commercial > Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra

Director: Nel Minchin, Wayne Blair

Producer: Ivan O’Mahoney

Executive Producer: Ivan O'Mahoney

Writer: Nel Minchin, Wayne Blair

Cast: Wesley Enoch, Stephen Page

Genres: Documentary, Factual

Demographics: 18+


1 x 60’ & 1 x 90’

Energetic, risk-taking, urban, hip — Australia’s unique modern dance company celebrates its 30th anniversary in this stunning, cinematic documentary.

From its early beginnings in the late 1980s, through the politically tumultuous 90s and into the new millennium, Bangarra Dance Theatre has grown to be one of the nation’s most revered cultural institutions.

Globally recognised as a leading performing arts company with a distinctive theatrical voice and utterly inimitable soundscapes, music and design - Bangarra’s unique signature style also encompasses authentic storytelling, outstanding technique and deeply moving performances.

Marking Bangarra Dance Theatre’s 30th anniversary, Firestarter takes us through its birth and spectacular growth, recognising the Company’s founders and telling the story of how three young Aboriginal brothers — Stephen, David and Russell Page — turned the newly born dance group into a First Nations cultural powerhouse.

Featuring remarkable archival footage and interviews with those integral to Bangarra’s establishment, including co-founders Carole Johnson, Cheryl Stone along with a number of former dancers and creatives, Firestarter is a tale of pride, heartbreak, adversity and empowerment – with the transformative strength of Indigenous dance at its centre.

Through the eyes of the brothers and company alumni, Firestarter explores the loss and reclaiming of culture, the burden of intergenerational trauma, and – crucially – the power of art as a messenger for social change and healing.

Directed by Wayne Blair (The Sapphires, Redfern Now) and Nel Minchin (Matilda & Me, Making Muriel), Firestarter features powerfully cinematic dance sequences – capturing the stunning visual language and heightened drama that Bangarra is famous for.

After a successful theatrical season and a comprehensive tour of the festival circuit where it was ecstatically embraced, Firestarter is now set to captivate international audiences – already an official selection for the Hot Docs and DOXA Festivals in Canada, and the Pan African Film + Arts Festival in the US.